A Liechtenstein team lead by world No. 152 Stephanie Vogt stormed to victory against the top seeds, as the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Zone Group II got underway in Siauliai, Lithuania on Wednesday.
After a superb performance by Kathinka von Deichmann against Nina Kalezic, which von Deichmann won for the loss of just one game in 32 minutes, Vogt defeated Montenegrin No. 1 Tamara Bojanic, also losing only one game, to make sure of an opening day victory for Liechtenstein.
Vogt and von Deichmann did not let the intensity they had shown in the singles drop, as they paired up to win the doubles, again losing a solitary game.
Meanwhile, Finland had to dig deep as its match-up with a spirited Lithuania team went to a deciding third rubber. Emma Laine opened proceedings with an emphatic 62 60 victory over Akvile Parazinskaite, but an impressive win for Lina Stanicute against Piia Suomalainen hauled the hosts back into the tie.
In a tense doubles rubber, Laine and Suomalainen took the first set on a tiebreak, before winning the second set more comfortably, recording a 76(4) 63 victory to leave Finland in a strong position going into the second day of play.
The results leave Liechtenstein at the top of Pool A, with Finland in second place, and Lithuania and Montenegro in third and fourth respectively. The latter two will be desperate for wins in tomorrow’s fixtures, as they look to remain alive going into Friday’s final round of pool-stage ties.
Over in Pool B, Georgia eased past an Egyptian team, with a comfortable 3-0 win. 16-year-old Sandra Samir gave Ekaterine Gorgodze some difficulties early on, keeping pace with the Georgian for the majority of both sets, but Gorgodze was able to raise her game in the big moments, eventually coming through 75 63 in one hour and 45 minutes.
Sofia Shapatava had a much easier time of things in her singles rubber, winning 61 61 against Mayar Sharif, before the Georgian world No. 225 teamed up with Oksana Kalashnikova to seal a 3-0 victory, and leave her team at the top of Pool B.
Perhaps the most exciting tie of the day, however, was the other Pool B clash between South Africa and Bosnia/Herzegovina.
After a win for Madrie Le Roux to put the South Africans 1-0 up had been cancelled out by Jasmina Tinjic, it came down to a decisive doubles rubber to settle the tie.
The South African team of Natalie Grandin and Chanel Simmonds won the first set, but Tinjic and her partner Dea Herdzelas fought back, taking the second set on a tiebreak and edging the decider 64 to seal the tie for Bosnia/Herzegovina.
Georgia sit at the head of Pool B, while Bosnia/Herzegovina’s victory leaves the team in second place. South Africa are in third, and Egypt bring up the rear.
Tomorrow’s fixtures will see hosts Lithuania take on the in-form Liechtenstein outfit, while Montenegro look to bounce back from today’s mauling as it faces Finland.
In Pool B, Georgia will play South Africa, while Egypt will meet Bosnia/Herzegovina. The winners of each pool will play-off against the runners-up in the other pool on Saturday to determine which nations will be promoted to Zone Group I for 2015, while the teams finishing in third and fourth place in the pools must also compete in relegation play-offs with the losing teams being demoted to Zone Group III next year.
You can find a full summary of the results from the matches in Lithuania here.